Women's Rights & Movements in IranIran: Children between 12 and 15 Forced into Marriage

Iran: Children between 12 and 15 Forced into Marriage


Iran Focus

London, 21 Dec – The state-run newspaper, Shargh, reported on a formal seminar that discussed the disaster of child marriage in the country on Sunday December 11th. The article was entitled, “Children do not get married; they are traded instead.” The article continued, “currently 43 thousand of those children that get married are aged 10 to 15 and 2 thousand of them are separated or divorced from their spouses.”

There merely excerpts from a report that was presented at the seminar on child marriage, which was held in the Amphitheater Hall of the University of Science and Technology to investigate the causes and consequences of child marriage in the marginalized neighborhoods of the country.

The Director of the Imam Ali organization, Zahra Rahimi wrote, ”in most of these marriages, the family of a girl trades their daughter in exchange for a house. As the news come through, a 10-year-old girl has married to a 60-year-old man in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. In this marriage, the girl does not expect to be loved but she has only made a deal with the man to receive money.” She added, ”in marginalized families, as the children start a married life, they intend to have children in order to prepare them for work.”

The participants of this meeting compared number of child marriages and divorces to 2014, and admitted that the number increased by 10 thousand cases in 2015.

12 to 13 thousand children get married unofficially without registering, according to a member of the Judicial and Legal Commission of the Iranian Parliament. Also,in many cases, the actual age of girls is not correctly recorded — they are registered older than their actual age.

In response to child marriage in Iran, Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar said, ”according to the law, the marriage of children is prohibited in the registration offices. In addition to that, the penal enforcement will be considered for those registration offices that violate the law. They shall be suspended from their jobs.”

Although it is against the law, child marriage is still registered in the offices. The law allows marriage for a young girl provided that the court approves. According to an article published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), it seems that there are 43 thousand marriages of children who are 10 to 15 years old, and they are registered without any compliance with the law and existing regulations (in other words, without court’s approval).

The main cause of child marriage is poverty and unemployment in Iran. As some officials stated, the rate of unemployment in some disadvantaged cities and provinces reaches 30 to 40 percent.

However, also reported by the NCRI, Zahra Sajjadi, the Secretary of the Iranian regime’s Assembly of Islamic Revolution’s Educated Women, claimed that “in hot climate regions, some (girls) may be well prepared to marry at 13 or even lower, and they may fall into corruption unless they get married.”

The ‘Etelate Rooz’ news agency reported on Sunday December 13, that Sajjadi pointed to the attempts made by a number of representatives to amend article 1041 of the Civil Code, and said that “the efforts made by some MPs seeking to gain religious scholars’ favor for their own programs and plans is basically wrong and futile.” The added, “To determine if a boy or a girl under 13 years of age is not able to get married depends on regional conditions, meaning that in hot climate regions such as Khuzestan and Bandar-e Abbas, you see girls and boys with early puberty, and there are certain conditions there that brings them more capabilities even from an economic point of view. So they are capable of managing their life at a much lower age.”

She continued, saying, “some think they can change clerics’ minds by forming committees or think tanks. They also attempted once before to change clerics’ minds regarding the Stoning punishment to avoid being condemned by international communities. I pointed out at the time that stoning is an issue that is clearly stated in Quran, not something raised by religious scholars. Likewise, what they are saying now that father’s permission should not be regarded as the sufficient requirement for marriage, is exactly the same. These issues are letter of the Quran.”

Fars News Agency reported that a member of the cultural commission of the Iranian regime’s parliament stated last week that “we are seeking to attract religious scholars for amending article 1041 of the Civil Code on marriage age, so that father’s permission and age requirement are not regarded as the only factors to go ahead with the marriage and that with the amendment of the article, legal authorities be obliged to decide on underage marriage cases and that more supervision be done on registration offices and courts to avoid violations.”

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